Face of Your Classroom

Introduction

Creating an Online Presence

This Face of Your Classroom thing looks at a variety of resources that educators can use to create a web presence to share information for a target audience which relates to your job and setting.

Examples of your target audience might be: classroom students, parents, or other professionals you work with (faculty or staff) in your role as an administrator or other educator.

Options for this Face of Your Classroom may include blogs, wikis, Learning Management Systems (LMS) or district purchased systems. These all are wonderful ways to create an online presence for your target audience. No matter which tool you use, educators need to have a web presence to share and communicate information related to their professional job.


Resources for Creating your Face of the Classroom Presence

face of your classroom diagram

We have divided the resources into four core areas.

  1. Learning Management Systems (LMS) or Content Management Systems (CMS)
  2. Web Site Creators
  3. Blogs & Wikis
  4. District Online Systems

Consider using one of these resources to create your Face of Your Classroom site. These resources vary in complexity, so it helps to investigate the different platform(s). It will be helpful to check with your district and ISD/RESA/RESD to learn if they provide one or more of these resources. Go to your district technology coordinator or ISD web site and check out the resources that are available for you. Some districts provide an Edublogs or a PB Wiki package, some may have an online publishing or learning management system, and some may provide a District Online System which you can use for your Face of the Classroom site. If they don't provide any of these, never fear, the web site creators listed are all FREE and very easy to use.

When you create your Face of Your Classroom site, use this rubric to ensure that you have an exemplary site.


Investigating the Options


learning management systems diagramLearning Management Systems

To get started building your online course, visit the Learning Management System page. There is additional information provided on the Blended or Flipped Classroom Thing page. Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Blackboard and Moodle provide an opportunity for educators to create and post online content in a secure environment. Schoology has gained in popularity, while Edmodo is a great entry level LMS. A variety of terms, including blended learning, hybrid learning, and flipped classroom all advocate for the use of an online system which can be used to provide content and face-to-face learning for students. A newer entry into this field is Google Classroom, which is an option for districts using Google Apps for Education.

web site creators diagramWebsite Creators

Using FREE online resources such as Weebly or Google Sites let you create your own web presence in a drag and drop interface. These website resources allow users to quickly create a web presence and provide fun widgets (small onscreen applications such as calendars, counters, etc.). These sites require no software to install because they are cloud based, free, and you are given a URL (web address) to share with others.

To get started creating your website, visit the Website Creators page.

blogs and wikis diagramBlogs and Wikis

Blogs (which is a contraction of the term Web log) have a website feel and are maintained with regular entries, or posts. Common blogs for educators include: EduBlogs, WordPress and Blogger by Google. The advantage of using a blog is that visitors can post comments and interact with you. The educational blogs we've listed allow the owner to moderate comments or decide which comments will get posted publicly. You might want to view the video titled Blogs in Plain English. To get started creating your blog, visit the Blog section provided.

Wikis provide another option for a web presence. A potential benefit with a wiki is that you can grant visitors permission to post their own content to the site. An excellent wiki site is PBWorks. Wikis allow the user to create and edit interlinked web pages as well. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites. View the video "Wikis in Plain English". To get started creating your wiki, visit the Wiki section provided.

district online systems diagramDistrict Online Systems

District Online Systems, or Online Infrastructure Systems (OIS) refer to products purchased by school districts. Many school districts subscribe to a paid service such as SchoolCenter, Foxbright, or Edline.

These sites provide a standard framework or layout to follow, and in most instances don't require the user to know programming or html code. Purchasers of these resources are frequently looking for standardization for their district or organization. Check with your district to find out if they have an OIS and if you have access to it.